Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Big,Bad,Bad First National Bank

Dear Michael Jordaan, Chief Executive of First National Bank,
         The scary thing is that if it has been allowed to go on for so long at one of your 700 odd branches could it also be this bad at some of the others?
         A cancer like this could eventually destroy your entire empire.
         Have you or any of your executives ever been to the Long Beach Mall branch in Cape Town and looked at the Give us your thoughts book in which clients give you feedback about the standard of your service?
         The one there now only goes back as far as August last year thank goodness because that’s more than shocking enough.
The majority of what’s there is a terrible indictment of FNB’s management.
But the worst part is that it has been allowed to fester away for years without anybody doing a thing about it.
         If I was you I would remove this record of the Worst Service I have ever experienced. All it’s doing is telling everybody who cares to look how FNB’s management has failed dismally.
         I hate to say I told you so, but I did more than two years ago. And I even wrote about it on my blog. If you remember yours was the Bad of Good and Bad Banks (December 2010).
         Here are some of the hair-raising extracts from this litany of how not to run a business of any kind.
         26/8/11 Once again no service. Only 2 tellers. It’s Friday. The worst service in FNB – Brian Mitchell.
         26/8/11 Easily the worst FNB branch in the country. This is my second complaint about service. Nobody cares – Brad Bell.
         2/9/11 This is the worst service I have ever experienced in a bank – Rob Dent.
         21/10/11 Have never had feedback re shocking service here – Lynn Jenkine.
         These are followed by other anonymous ones just as damaging.
         "Rather close the branch."
         "Who’s reading our comments and is not doing anything about them?  Definitely changing banks soon."
         "Goodbye. Hello Capitec (bank)."
         "Welcome to 3rd World Banking."
         "Where ever I am in this bank everybody around me is upset and angry – no service."
         Then there is the one that is perhaps the most telling of all. It was possibly written by somebody who works at the branch.
         "It’s not the teller’s fault. It’s all the supervisors and senior people’s fault. One supervisor ran away."
         Whoever wrote that can say that again. The senior people are entirely to blame.
         Heads should roll don’t you think Michael? The question is whose?
         Last week my wife Gayle went to the branch to pay money into our daughter’s account. She walked out on three days because the queues were so long and finally paid the money in after a half an hour wait. There was only one teller and it was Saturday morning!
         As you know when I told you about my wife’s experience you asked Barry de Witt your CEO of Branch Banking to investigate and contact me. All he did was to get the poor woman who was only appointed the branch manager two months ago to phone me.
         "Talk about running for cover in the face of the enemy and passing the buck," I then told you. "Evidently Barry didn't have the courage to contact me," my email went on. "Your manager is powerless to do anything about the situation if you and top management are not prepared to do anything.
         "In the same Mall there is Absa, Nedbank and Standard and I have been into all of them and I have never once had the same bad experience as my wife and I have had at the FNB branch."
         Soon afterwards Barry phoned to say he was looking into it. About time wouldn’t you say after three or perhaps more years of horrible service that everybody in your bank should have been aware of?
         He followed this with an email saying, "We have arranged to increase staff numbers." He didn’t say by how many so only time will tell whether things will improve or if the branch will remain as a monument to BAD, BAD Service.
         Jon, the Consumer Watchdog with dogged determination.

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